How wasteful is my office?

By Greg Bell

When it comes to waste management, make sure your office is aiming to be both clean and green. To implement an effective recycling strategy, you first need to identify how wasteful your office is.

How wasteful are Australian businesses?

According to The City of Gold Coast, Australian businesses only recycle 11 per cent of their office paper, with the un-recycled paper taking up 55 per cent of office tower waste. A Resourcesmart report found that effective office waste management reduce overall landfill waste by up to 90 per cent, which can lower carbon dioxide emissions and risk of air pollution.

How do I assess the level of waste in my office?

An efficient way of estimating the levels of waste in your office is to conduct a thorough waste assessment. This can identify areas of improvement and evaluate the effectiveness of recycling systems already implemented in the work place.

Resourcesmart recommends a four step inspection process to ensure a thorough analysis of your office's waste habits.

1. Walk around the office.

This step involves carrying out a visual analysis of the current office waste systems and areas of excess waste in the office. Observe how employees interact with the designated rubbish bins, and whether the placement of the bins has an effect on office recycling habits.

2. Carry out a desktop audit.

A desktop audit investigates previous waste management invoices to gain an understanding of annual recycling habits and quantities. This can be financially beneficial as you can find areas to cut costs when it comes to managing your waste output.

3. Visually assess the waste.

Inspect the different types of waste in your office and estimate the quantities of various materials, like plastics, papers or glass. Consider how full your rubbish bins get over a period of time, and whether staff members are actively using recycle bins.

4. Physically sort the waste.

With the help of a waste management professional, categorise the different waste types and weigh your output against standards for your industry. Using this data and the aforementioned findings, construct a full report of your waste habits to present to your staff.

From this information, you can identify problem areas for your workplace, and devise a strategy to reduce overall waste and promote recycling.

How can I encourage recycling?

The first step in implementing a green workplace is to lead by example. If your desk is cluttered with plastic bottles and your bin overflowing with paper planes, you're going appear hypocritical demanding your staff members to watch their waste.

Change starts with yourself – reflect on your own consumption habits, and make alterations in areas of concern. This doesn't have to involve drastic change – using fabric bags instead of single use plastics for your shopping, and ditching plastic coffee cups in favour of reusable alternatives are great starting points to cutting down personal waste.

Make sure the whole workplace is on the same page when it comes to your recycling goal. Establishing an understanding of the waste hierarchy is vital when it comes to effective waste management.

1. Reducing and reusing.

Avoiding excessive waste should be top priority, and reusing items when possible. Remove all disposable kitchen utensils, and promote the use of reusable alternatives. Gradually switch the office to electronic documentation, and if printing is necessary, opt for double-sided copies. Encourage employees to reduce and reuse in their own home by hosting a monthly swap night, where they can trade unused clothing or household items with each other.

2. Efficient recycling.

After reducing and reusing, recycle all possible items of waste in the correct bins. Have separate spaces for paper, plastic and glass.

3. Minimise landfill waste.

Only when all possible recycling tactics have been exhausted can the remaining waste be disposed to landfill rubbish.

Joining forces to tackle your office waste problem is a great way to promote team cooperation, as well as being a great PR move in identifying yourself as a clean, green business.

If you're looking to upgrade from your current office, or are on the hunt for new Gold Coast commercial property, consult with the team at Ray White Surfers Paradise for expert advice.

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